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Timbuktu takes home seven Césars, Kirsten Stewart makes history

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Director Abderrahmane Sissako and his seven Césars awarded to him on Friday. © Reuters

“Timbuktu” swept up seven awards including best film at Friday’s 40th annual César awards, while actress Kristen Steward became the first American actress to win France’s version of an Oscar.


From Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako, “Timbuktu” portrays life in an ancient northern Mali city that has fallen under control of Muslim extremists. The film is also a contender for best foreign language film on Sunday’s Oscars in Los Angeles.

Accepting the best director prize, Sissako thanked his native Mauritania, where “Timbuktu” was largely filmed and for the protection of his foreign crews.

The veteran filmmaker also said France proved its openness to others by awarding his work and praised the millions of people who poured onto the streets in the aftermath of the January attacks that left 17 people dead.

“France is a magnificent country because it is able to stand up to the horror and to the violence,” Saissako said.

The film also took home trophies for best editing, sound and cinematography during the ceremony in the French capital.

Stewart, who gained fame for her role as Bella in the “Twilight” series, also expressed her affinity for French film after becoming the first American to win an acting award from the French academy for her role in “Clouds of Sils Maria”.

French actress Marion Cotillard also presented a Cesar lifetime achievement award to two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn.